What an earthquake taught me about discernment

Arizona is not known for it’s earthquakes. In fact, Arizona is probably not known for much in terms of natural disasters. However, earlier this month, Arizona had the pleasure of experiencing 3 earthquakes in one night. Typically this isn’t something I’d bring up on this blog. TTR is about Kemeticism and astral tom foolery, not geology. However, as I sat in the dark looking for information on why my house felt like it had just done a small dance, I noticed something really interesting about people’s reactions that made me think about a rather common topic in paganism: people were questioning their discernment.

You see, I bring up the whole “Arizona is not known for earthquakes” because it’s rather relevant for this story. You’d think that an earthquake would be pretty easy to discern even if you’d never experienced one before, right? The ground moves. Everything on the ground moves with it. Sometimes your house makes noise. Sometimes pictures fall off the wall, or chandeliers shake. It’s pretty straightforward, right?

Apparently it’s not straightforward enough, because many Arizonans were questioning what exactly had happened to them- myself included.


Even though all of us had felt the ground move and knew that earthquakes and little else usually involve the ground moving, we were all scratching our heads going “did I get that right?”

This seems to be how it goes with the Unseen, too. So many times we seem to think that some stuff should be pretty easy to discern. “If I see this sign, then I’ll know for sure that this is real.” “If I experience this, then I’ll know for sure that this is real.”

But how many of us actually operate that way? How many times have we seen something smack us straight in the face, and we still deny it?

“Every single reading I’ve gotten has pointed to X, but I’m still not sure that it’s actually X.” “I had a vision about the thing, and then a dream about the thing, and then a reading about the thing, but I’m still not sold that I’ve got it right.”

It seems that questioning your experiences isn’t really something that only happens in the pagan community. Even for something as blatant as an earthquake, because Arizonans believe that “those things just don’t happen here”, many of us second guessed whether we had actually felt the ground move. The only reason I was looking up information online was because I really had a hard time believing that I had felt the ground move, that I had felt an earthquake happen (even though I know for a fact that they do happen here in the state).

Now imagine what that’s like for something less physical. Something a bit more nebulous and harder to prove one way or the other. It’s really no wonder so many of us have problems with discernment. And while this experience didn’t teach me how to discern better, it did teach me to be a little less hard on myself when trying to figure things out. It’s taught me to question ingrained ideas about what I consider to be “logical” or “within the possibility of being real”. And possibly even more importantly, it taught me that so many others question just like I do. It seems like a lot of people assume that people instantly assume anything they experience is real without a second thought. But as you can see in the screencaps above, that’s apparently not the case- even in mundane matters. So many of us question things that should be pretty obvious. So many of us struggle with discernment.

Discernment isn’t easy (probably for anyone), and this experience has definitely reminded me to be more patient with myself (and others) when I am trying to discern the “truth”out of something. I have to remind myself that questioning everything to death is more normal than most of us assume, and that there reaches a point where questioning is no longer doing anyone any benefit. Now if only discerning stuff from the Unseen was as easy as discerning an earthquake- then we’d be on to something!

For more information on how to fine tune your discernment, check out the FAQ.


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Spirit Work & Mental Illness

Alternate title: Quit romanticizing my illness.
Alternate title #2: Quit demonizing my treatment.

Every so often I will see little flare-ups in the pagan community that center on two fairly unrelated topics: spirit work and mental illness. Don’t get me wrong, these topics can be related, but they aren’t necessarily related, though many people try to make them out to be. I’m sure many of you have seen articles like this and this that go on and on about how we’re killing our spirit workers because they have mental illness and are not handling it “properly”. And if we’d only just learn how to “properly” handle these “gifts” that we’ve been bestowed, we’d suddenly find that our problems would poof out of existence.

Being a spirit worker myself, I read these posts and feel my jaw clench shut as I find rage welling up in my stomach. These posts are so damaging on so many levels, to both spirit workers and the mentally ill (as well as mentally ill spirit workers), and it really bugs me that so many people don’t see what is wrong withposts like this. There are so many flaws with these kinds of posts that it’s almost impossible to know where to start when critiquing them. But here are a few of the main problems that come to mind whenever this sort of stuff shows up on my FB wall or dash:

Your illness is really a gift from the divine!

One of the first issues that I see popping up with these kinds of articles is the idea that  your mental illness is not actually an illness or a problem, but is really a gift from the gods. And if you’d just learn to accept that, you’d feel all sorts of better! This is also sometimes presented as “if only our society would see the inherent worth and value of your mental illness, you would feel all sorts of better”.

The truth of the matter is, most of the spirit workers I’ve met who are also mentally ill don’t feel like their mental illness is “divine”. I’m here to tell you that I don’t perform as well as a spirit worker when my mental illnesses are flaring up and ruining my life, and it seems like many people feel the same way. Even if society were to somehow make it a-okay to be depressed and anxious all of the time, I would still feel pretty miserable regularly, and wouldn’t be able to operate at maximum capacity.

Mental illness is an energy suck. It sucks the life out of you and leaves you feeling drained, tired, and miserable (most of the time). I can’t imagine how anyone would find this to be divine in nature. Quite honestly, I would expect being tired, drained and miserable would be the opposite of being divine. And no amount of outside support is going to change that my illnesses leave me feeling like crap on the regular. You can’t sunshine and rainbows away mental illness. You simply can’t. And implying that this is a gift is like spitting in the face of every person who has to work really hard to function despite their mental illness/es. Implying that someone with mental health issues doesn’t really know what their illness “actually” is is also ableist. Of course, if you are mentally ill and wish to make it a part of your spirituality, or find that it is a source of power for your spirit work, that’s fine. But it’s one thing to believe that your particular mental illness is a strength for you, and quite another to imply that everyone else who is mentally ill should operate the same way.

I’ve also never understood why so many people believe that mental illness always makes you a spirit worker. I have been depressed and anxious for as long as I can remember, but spirit work wasn’t really a part of my life until I was in my mid-to-late 20’s. And truth be told, my mental illness didn’t really play a role in my becoming a spirit worker (and based off of what I’ve read, mental illness was not a common indicator of spirit work in some cultures in the past- physical health was another story, though). If anything, my mental illness often gets in the way of doing what I need to do Over There, and there are many times when I get really frustrated with the constant interruptions that crop up from my brain deciding that it needs to tank my mood right when important work needs to get done.

There are many mentally ill people who are not spirit workers, and who don’t want to be spirit workers. Conversely, I’ve met plenty of non-mentally ill spirit workers. I’m not sure where this idea originally came from, but it’s an idea that needs to stop propagating. You can be mentally ill and a spirit worker, you can be a spirit worker who isn’t mentally ill, and you can be mentally ill and not a spirit worker. None of these things is necessarily related.

Medication is bad, m’kay?

The other factor that I see constantly brought up in these articles is the idea that if you’re using western medicine in any capacity, you’re drugging your abilities away, or ruining the gift that you’ve supposedly been given.

For anyone that has been following me for any amount of time, you know that I have worked on finding ways to medicate myself, and that I’ve had a fair amount of success with it so far. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to go back to pre-medication me. Medication can take all sorts of forms, and since mental illness can’t really be cured, we really have no place to judge what works or doesn’t work for another. So long as you’re being responsible and healthy about your medication choices, that’s really all that matters. The idea that medication is somehow going to ruin you is so damaging, and prevents people from seeking out treatment. It causes people to be miserable because they fear seeking treatment, or they feel like treatment makes them weak as a person.

Everyone really needs to stop implying that medication is inherently bad (you are treating an illness, after all. And if you’d take medicine for a physical illness, you shouldn’t be chastising someone for taking medication for a mental illness). There are so many people I have met (spirit workers and non-spirit workers alike) who have become better and more stable because of their treatments. I have met spirit workers who feel like their medication makes them better spirit workers. Because, wow, you can actually get more work done when your brain isn’t working against you.

Discernment? What discernment?!

Something else I’ve noticed when these kinds of posts are trawled out is that discernment seems to go down the tubes. In many ways, people seem to believe that if you happen to “see” something that “isn’t there”, then it must be a spiritual experience, and can never be a symptom mental illness.

The truth is that many spirit workers who have mental illness will tell you that there is a definite difference between the symptoms of their illness, and what they experience as a spirit worker. I have met people who have told me that their hallucinations have a very different look and feel in comparison to their astral visions and travels. I’ve met others who tell me that the non-existent things that they hear sound different than when a spirit is talking to them. I’ve met others who tell me that their medication has shifted their experiences (sometimes good, sometimes bad) and that once they took a closer look at their experiences, they could tell what was more induced via medication, and what was genuine.

However, when these posts start throwing the baby out with the bath water, and assume that all visions are the same- regardless of your “gift” of a mental illness, then we stop focusing on discernment and learning how mental illness and spirit work actually play together. Because they can play together, and there are distinct differences between the two for most of us who live with both. When discernment goes out the window, you’re creating a recipe for disaster, because discernment is key to staying safe while working with not only the Unseen, but within our community itself.

Why I consider this to be dangerous.

I personally believe that these sorts of ideas are not only incorrect and damaging, but I personally believe them to be entirely dangerous. They are dangerous because they don’t create an atmosphere where people who are mentally ill can actually seek out treatment that works well for them. The notion that all Western medicine is inherently bad and will completely screw you up often demotivates people to consider all possible treatment methods, and may cause people to skip over a particular treatment type that works for them. It may also be a strong enough argument to convince someone to stop treatment, even if it is working for them. And when people who are mentally ill don’t receive proper treatment, we often run into other problems that causes a decline in our quality of life. Buying into narratives that perpetuate this will cause people to get hurt in very real ways. I have met people who believed that they could spirit work their mental illness away, and let me tell you that the results were often not pretty, and in many ways, produced the exact opposite effect of what they desired.

This is also damaging to the spirit worker community and the wider pagan community as a whole. It causes people to feel inadequate in some ways, and gives people power that they wield poorly in others. The idea that all mentally ill people must be spirit workers creates a rift within the community, as those who are mentally ill, but not spirit workers may feel like they’re doing something wrong. “If all mentally ill people are supposed to be special, but I’m not getting anywhere, then I must be a screw-up, right?”  And if you happen to be a mentally ill spirit worker who is undergoing therapy or treatment, you may suddenly question if you’re also doing it wrong, because apparently these things will prohibit you from being as “good” of a spirit worker as you could be. Not to mention that it makes the spirit workers who are not mentally ill feel ostracized in a community that is already pretty small, niche, and hard to get into.

It sets up this expectation that most people will not meet, and that people shouldn’t have to meet, and yet people continue to push this narrative as if it’s 110% absolute truth. These ideas hurt those who are already vulnerable (mentally ill people) and inadvertently sets them up for a very likely failure. It takes the conversation off of important topics that could actually benefit mentally ill spirit workers (topics such as: how do I tell the difference between a spiritual experience and my mental illness, how do I tell the difference between the astral and a hallucination, how do I work around these crippling symptoms I am experiencing from my illness, how do you manage spirit work and mental illness, etc.) and puts the conversation onto a useless topic of “your medication is bad and everything would get better if you’d just become a spirit worker”.

Yes, it is true that our society doesn’t handle mental illness well. Yes, it is true that we would all benefit from having a society that accepts mental illness and treats it like the illness that it is. But I still don’t believe that spirit work is the cure for all mental illness (quite the opposite, really). I don’t believe that spirit work will make every single mentally ill person feel better (I’m still mentally ill), in the same way that I don’t believe that every mentally ill person is meant to be a spirit worker, or is even necessarily having a spiritual/Unseen experience (many of my symptoms have been exactly that- symptoms, not genuine spiritual experiences). In many ways, mental illness and spiritual experiences can have some overlap, but they aren’t inherently the same thing and it’s better for everyone that this becomes a more recognized and understood thing. I would love to see more discussion on their differences and similarities than the constant “they are all the same” that you seem to get in the posts linked above as it would actually help the mentally ill people that everyone is so intent on discussing.


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Thoughts on Oversharing

I have learned that if there is one thing that will get you side-eyed in the wider Pagan community, it’s oversharing. I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve seen where someone will discount experiences, ideas, and people based off of how much information someone has revealed about a given topic in a certain amount of time. For example, if you show up to a new Pagan group and your first post/interaction tells everyone every intimate detail about your personal life, odds are everyone will take 3 steps back and be leery to talk to you for a while. Simply put, oversharing is often a red flag for a lot of people.

Oversharing is defined as “revealing an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life,” and the truth is, we do have quite a few people in the community who do share quite a lot. However, the line between sharing and oversharing is a hazy one, and will likely shift depending on who you’re talking to. Some people think that sharing pictures of your shrine is oversharing. Some people believe that you should never talk about your magical workings because that is oversharing. Others consider talking about anything sexual (whether tied to a non-physical being or physical being) to be oversharing. But in contrast, some people are okay with all of these things and welcome people to talk about them with as many juicy details as you can remember.

The act of oversharing isn’t inherently bad, but it does carry a stigma with it in almost every corner of our society. I find this to be somewhat unfortunate because it does tend to shut people down from openly discussing topics that might be beneficial to the group, and it can alienate members of a community. I myself have been guilty of oversharing, and I go through waves where I suppress my desire to share things about my life- both in the physical and in the Unseen- because I fear what could come of posting such things online where others can see it. This brought me to consider why it is that we sometimes overshare, and perhaps why it is that others dislike oversharing so much?

Why do people overshare?

In order to answer this question, I looked back at my own experiences to see why it was that I was so prone to oversharing once upon a time. If you were to take a look at my tumblr feed now, you’d probably think to yourself “Devo, you don’t overshare at all”, and you’d be correct. That’s because I fell out of the habit of sharing much of anything personal, and became almost too private in some respects. However, if you were to go back into my archives and look at, say, March of 2013, you’d see a very different story. The same could be said if you dug up my old LJ- I used to share an awful lot of random, useless information about myself, my practice, and my astral happenings to anyone who would listen to me.

But the more important question is: why?

Looking back at my own personal incidents of oversharing, I think the main factor for myself was anxiety. I was anxious about all of this new stuff that was going on, and I needed to put those emotions and feelings somewhere. Of course, I could have placed these emotions in a safe place where no one could see them, but then I wouldn’t be able to get feedback on what I was experiencing, and any possibility of experiencing validation from my peers wouldn’t have occurred. Validation during an anxious time is huge for a lot of people, and I was no exception. I can definitely recall myself asking and posting a bunch of very specific things, hoping that someone somewhere would happen across it and go “oh that thing! I know that thing that you speak of! It is definitely a thing!” All I really wanted was for someone to make me feel like I wasn’t losing my mind or making things up. And that caused me to share anything and everything that I thought could produce that sort of result.

Another aspect of this might be microblogging. Many people will microblog as a means of managing anxiety. This can be less about validation, and more about managing emotions in a more controlled environment where you are less likely to cause harm to anyone. Microblogging can also allow you to receive constructive (or not-so-constructive) feedback from people that can help you in whatever situation you find yourself in. And I think in many situations in the Pagan community, people are making multiple posts with lots of personal details because they are trying to cope with the anxiety they are facing about a given situation. Whether that’s tied to the prospect of gods actually talking to you, or of a deity actually having emotions for you beyond platonic friends, or the possibility that you fell into a non-physical plane and were chased by a group of people.

All of this Pagan stuff is kinda overwhelming when you first come into it, and I think that that influences a lot of why people overshare. Especially when they start out. It’s less about being an “attention whore” and more about trying to cope and understand what you’re learning and/or experiencing. And in that same vein, I have found that most people will slowly share less and less as they get more experienced. It’s as if you gain a sort of filter or “standard” for what should or should not be shared with others. And for many people, it’s that very standard that they use to judge how much others should be sharing about their own practice- which can be detrimental if it causes someone to treat people poorly over it.

Is oversharing bad?

You may be looking at this and hearing about how oversharing is disliked and wondering if it’s a bad thing to overshare your experiences. The truth is, oversharing is not inherently bad. So long as you are comfortable with the amount of information you are sharing, that is what is most important. However, there are some instances where oversharing is probably not recommended that I feel everyone should consider.

The first consideration is your safety. Oversharing can be problematic if you’re handing out information that can be used to cause you harm. Harm can come in many forms when it comes to the Pagan community, and so you should consider things from several angles before posting something online. For example, one of the biggest things people are warned about is posting anything that could lead people to where you live, work, etc. You wouldn’t want to post stuff that would make it easy for stalkery types to find you, or stuff that might cause you to lose your job if someone sent the information to your boss. However, that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Data mining and manipulation run rampant in the wider community, and you should be careful not to post too much information that might make it easy for someone to manipulate you, lie to you, or fake a spiritual experience to get something out of you.

Another thing to consider is your audience. Sometimes people are not equipped to handle oversharing or overly sensitive topics. Making sure that you are putting your information in a place where others can choose to engage or skip the information based off of their current needs is important. You wouldn’t want to weigh someone down with baggage that they can’t handle. Those types of situations don’t benefit anyone. In addition to this, if your content is too mature for your audience, could trigger your audience, or my break the rules of a particular group or forum you’re in, then you probably should reconsider whether you should be sharing or not.

It’s also important to consider the needs of anyone else you might be mentioning in your sharing. If your experience includes someone else besides yourself- whether that be a physical person or a non-physical entity, you should heavily consider what effect your sharing of that information could have on the other people involved. If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to double-check with them before posting any relevant information. And if your sharing could hurt anyone in particular, you should also possibly reconsider.

Why all the hassle with oversharing?

The one thing that I haven’t been able to really pin down is why we consider oversharing to be an inherently negative thing. Why is it that we automatically assume that the less you share, the more legit your practice is? Does it have to do with the appearance of being secure in your practice? Does it have to do with some notion that oversharing is a cry for attention, and that that is somehow bad? Is there something else that we have possibly missed all together?

The more I have picked apart the ideas and methods behind oversharing, the more I have realized that many of us judge those who share a lot about their lives unfairly, or perhaps too quickly. Divulging large parts of your practice doesn’t really indicate anything, in all truthfulness. I’ve met people who share a little and people who share a lot- and I’ve met people who seemed legit and not-so-legit in both categories. Even though I’ve been trained to consider oversharing a red flag, I’ve not found that it necessarily indicates something either way about the accuracy, discernment or truthfulness of the individual in question.

It seems to me that oversharing often gets a bad rap for no particular reason. It’s my hope that by reconsidering the nature of oversharing- what causes it, and how much is truly too much can help us to redefine what it means to share vs. overshare. I mean, so long as you’re being critical in what you share, or considering the things mentioned above, there really isn’t anything wrong with sharing your experiences in whatever capacity you feel is best.

For those of you who share a lot- are there any reasons behind why you share as much as you do? Have you received any negative feedback or associations tied to your openness?

And for those of you who are critical of oversharing- are there reasons behind why you are critical? Have you found any trends with oversharing that have made you wary of the practice?


Posted by on October 13, 2015 in Rambles


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The Weight of Worth

I think it goes without saying that I have a fairly shoddy family life. My relationships with most of my family members are strained at best, and completely beyond repair in a lot cases. While they’re not the worst people in the world, they aren’t exactly the best, either. Or at least, they’re not always the best for me. Maybe if I was straight, neurotypical or lacking in mental health issues out the wazoo it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But for whatever reason, my relationship with my family is still not ideal in a lot of ways.

Because of this, I hide a lot of what I do from my family. They don’t know about my personal life or my relationship with my partner that’s been going on for almost a decade now. They don’t know about my life in the Unseen (could you really imagine how they’d react?), and they don’t know about my work with the Kemetic community. They have a passing knowledge that I’m “not Christian” and that I’m “not entirely straight”, but that’s about as far as their understanding goes, and I like to keep it that way. I worry that if they were to find these things out about me, they’d eat me alive the first chance that they got.

This can be difficult to manage, though, as there are times when I would like to share these aspects of my life with other people that I know in the flesh. There are times when I’d love to show how my work online has influenced my life offline, or utilize online or religious experiences to show my family members how they’ve got the wrong idea about me.

A good example of this is the very frequently used “you’re so angry” trope. This usually happens when I’ve managed to catch a male family member off guard by calling them out on something problematic, and they end up deflecting with a “well you’re so angry all of the time, it must really suck to be you.” Of course, calling women angry as a means to belittle them and derail the conversation into a different, more personal topic (often called an ad hominem attack) is pretty well discussed and well documented in our society. In many ways, women aren’t allowed to be angry. We’re only allowed to be nice and happy and fluffy cuddles all of the time. So when this happens, I’m not entirely surprised, just agitated that this is how a grown man chooses to handle criticism.

And as I sit there and watch this grown man throw around the whole “you’re so angry!” as if that invalidates everything I have to say, I often find myself wanting to do one of two things. The first is to tell them that I am angry, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t be angry that their family treats them fairly poorly, or that their upbringing was less than ideal and how that still effects things to this day. Who wouldn’t be angry for being a second rate citizen within our culture. Who wouldn’t be angry about getting paid less for doing more work, for being shunned by politicians, the media, and the general population. Who wouldn’t be angry for getting the short stick. I usually want to follow this up with statements about how my gods have taught me not to fear my anger, but to embrace it and use it for making change. I want to tell them about how the NTRW have pushed us all to be more accepting of ourselves and our emotions, even if those emotions are not always considered “appropriate” by our society. In this moment, I want to talk about Kemeticism and how it has influenced my ideas about anger, and to push my family member to reconsider their ideas about anger (and women being angry). But as I said above, I can’t.

The second thing I want to do is to shout back at them “no I’m not!” and to tell them that they’ve got me all wrong. I want to tell them about all of the work I’ve done online, and how I’ve worked to help others, and the joy that that brings me. I want to tell them about how my partner makes me happy and has brought balance to my life in ways no one else has. I want to tell them that despite all of my shortcomings, I’ve worked so hard to make something of myself, and that I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot despite what I was born into. In this moment, I want to talk about Kemeticism and how it’s not only enriched my life, but allowed me to enrich the lives of others and how important that is to me. But again, I can’t.

But really, both of the above paragraphs are accurate. I am angry and not angry at the same time. Like most things, it depends on the subject matter as to whether I may appear more disgruntled or less disgruntled. I’m going to have a very different emotional response to kittens as opposed to rampant sexism. And to base a person’s entire personality off of the emotions expressed over one topic is really not cool or fair, especially if you’re using it to deflect criticism of problematic behaviour.

But more importantly than all of this, is the fact that I shouldn’t have to defend myself in regards to my perceived anger. I shouldn’t have to prove my worth based off of my community work. I shouldn’t have to prove my worth because “I’m not really all that angry, I promise.” I shouldn’t have to be ashamed or perceived as less than because of the emotions that I am experiencing. I shouldn’t have to defend myself at all for expressing what I feel in a healthy manner. And I shouldn’t have people trying to debase everything I say because of the notion of anger.

The more I reflected on this, the more I realized that while I had internalized all of the lessons that Set had given me about anger back in the Pit all those years ago, I still had more work to do in regards to my anger. Yes, I can accept that I am angry. Yes, I can utilize my anger in a positive fashion. Yes, I can control my anger and channel it a lot better than I used to be able to. All of these lessons are still with me today.

But what I didn’t internalize or take with me is that I can be angry without needing to prove that I am allowed to be angry. In so many ways, I have been conditioned to believe that I can be angry and upset because I do all of these other useful things that negate that anger. There seems to be this internalized idea that I can be “less than ideal” because I do other things that live up to our society’s idea of what we should be doing with our lives (hint: it centers around being productive for someone else 24/7).

anti capitalist love notes

My worth is not based around what I do for the community. My worth is not based around how productive I am or am not. My worth as a human and as a person is inherent simply because I exist. My anger is justified and valid because it is a feeling that I have, and I don’t need to go do all of these “good deeds” in order to be justified and valid in what I already feel. I don’t need to go do good things as a means to weigh against the “bad things” that I feel.

And above all, I don’t need to pull this information out to prove to random angry manchildren that I’m really “not all that bad if you’d just give me a chance.” I don’t owe him anything, and I certainly shouldn’t have to give out personal details in order to earn his respect (as the respect should be inherent). And really, none of us should have to. Our society likes to imply that we are only valuable if we are productive, but that’s really not true. You don’t owe society a thing, and you shouldn’t have to prove to anyone that you deserve to continue to exist.

Part of my practice has been about coming to terms with who I am and how I feel, as well as learning to embrace parts of myself I have been made to deny and hate for years. And while I’ve made a lot of progress, this past year’s interactions with the manchildren in my family has shown me that I still have a lot of work left to do. As I often say, the rabbit hole has no bottom or end, and so it seems to go with shadow work as well.


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People > Gods

I remember seeing posts a year or two ago from various Piety Posse members who were attempting to draw proverbial lines in the sand. In these posts, they stated that they didn’t want certain people in their religion. Mainly, these people would be those who didn’t honor the gods in a certain way. People who didn’t give the offerings they deemed proper. People who didn’t practice their religion in exactly the same way that these people believed to be “fit”.

It is funny that we draw our lines in the sand over offerings. Over shrine adornments. Over UPG and personal interpretations of myths. We draw lines over things that are personal aspects of each person’s religious practice, and are relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

We are okay with drawing lines in the sand over people who we deem as being disrespectful to the gods. But we have no qualms accepting people into our fold that are being disrespectful to our co-religionists.

I find this to be contradictory in a lot of ways. The first being that gods are supposed to be these really big, bad, powerful beings (by most accounts). So you’d think that a big, bad, powerful being would be able to reach down and tell someone to stop being a twat-waffle if it was really that important to them. It seems to me that the gods could manage their own devotees and if it was a big problem that their devotee offered them Wonderbread instead of some all organic, whole wheat, dolphin-safe bread, they’d let them know. I don’t see why gods need to rely on humans on the Internet to dictate personal religious preferences and choices.

But the bigger issue here, I believe, is that if we were to start drawing lines in the sand regarding toxic and bigoted people amongst our community members, we might be forced to take a closer look at ourselves.

And looking in the mirror can be scary some days. Who knows, you might find that those very people you are speaking out against are embodied in some of your own actions, and then you might be forced to reflect and change your behaviour.

It’s much easier to speak for what a non-physical being may or may not want. It’s very simple to sit down and say “XYZ deity said that you should do ABC and that’s that” because the gods live in a completely different plane of existence. They can’t simply come down from their temples and homes and manifest in front of a group of people and say “No, Johnny, that’s actually not what I said. Can you please shut your yap and quit telling people that I said that.” Talking about what we believe the gods do and do not want is simpler because there is no way to prove someone wrong. I could tell you that Set said that he only wants the finest booze for every single offering you ever give him ever again- and no one would really be able to prove me right or wrong.

The best a deity can do is go to another devotee, tell them the skinny, and hope that the devotee will make a counter point to the original statement, and that people will listen (“Actually, Devo, Set told me that we can offer him whatever”, for example). But even then, if Sally says “Johnny, XYZ deity came to me and said that you’re full of shit and to stop saying that”, it doesn’t take much for Johnny to find a way to discredit everything Sally has said and then we are back at square one.

So basically, it seems to me that many people often speak for the gods because gods are the low hanging fruit in a religious community. For all intents and purposes, they can’t stand up for themselves and tell people when a mouth piece is full of crap and people take advantage of that. I think this can manifest in many ways from what is considered proper offerings to proper shrine structures to what we should be wearing when in shrine to what is considered proper etiquette when part of a religion. We touch on all of these relatively frivolous things because there is no way for anyone to really call someone out on the impudence of their statements.

However, when we start talking about more physically tangible, serious topics- the dynamic of the conversation changes. When we start talking about people and the rights of our fellow co-religionists, the whole game changes because these tangible, physical people can actually publicly respond to you. And that is powerful in ways that gods simply are not.

You see, if I start talking about how racism is bad and we need to combat it, but then I turn around and make a racist comment- physical people can actually call me out on it and raise a fuss. If I make post after post after post about how we need to be respectful to one another, and I start acting like a dick somewhere, people will call me out on it, and I will lose my credibility and stance in the community.

You see, when I actually choose to talk about physical people, those physical people can tell me if I’m full of crap. And that’s something the gods can’t openly do.

This is pretty easy to see when a certain BNP wrote a while back about “proper” offerings to the gods. In this post, the BNP made statements about what is considered “proper”, but also made a lot of inflammatory racist and classist comments as well. In terms of offerings, it was harder to really say anything, because outside of what we can infer from historical texts, it’s really up to personal interpretation as to what is “proper” when it comes to offerings. Because what the gods ask of me in terms of offerings may be very different from what the gods ask of someone else.

But those racist and classist comments? Those are easy pickings. Why? Because people are able to actually respond to the commentary that was presented in the post (where as gods can’t say anything). On top of that, it’s not difficult to include facts, data, and statistics in a response that helps to reinforce what you are saying. Get enough people involved, and it can become a tidal wave that ends up destroying your credibility in the community at large.

And so because of this, I think a lot of people purposefully avoid talking about the topics that are truly important and difficult within the community because to do so would not only leave us open to real criticism, but it would also force so many of us to take a look at our own biases and bigotry. Gods forbid we actually address the things that are effecting our co-religionists. Gods forbid we actually do something to help the fellow human beings we are experiencing this thing called life with.

Gods forbid we actually put people before gods for once.

I want to challenge the idea that the gods are the most important factor in a religion. Yes, it’s true that the gods are important- they usually play a pretty hefty role in most people’s religious practice, and they are pretty cool to work with. However, people are just as important as the gods, and I believe that in some cases, people are more important than the gods. And I think that’s easy to see because almost nobody is actually talking about humanitarian issues in the community at large. And it leads me to wonder if no one is talking about these issues because they are actually very difficult to discuss, especially if you happen to be participating in groups, posts, and activities that perpetuate the oppression you’re supposedly against.

When you start talking about human rights and humanitarian issues, you have to actually look at yourself and make sure you’re not perpetuating things that go against these issues. Going back to the beginning of this post- you have to actually take a long, hard look in the mirror, analyze what you see, and then actually change your behaviour to walk the walk.

And I don’t think many people want to actually do that. They’d rather tackle the simple stuff that can’t really be challenged.

From my perspective, our religion is nothing without our co-religionists. The gods can’t survive off of an audience of one, they need more people in order for their cults to be successful. And our people are only as successful as the network we create as fellow humans. If our network puts our people down, our people can’t be successful and people will actively avoid joining the religion or engaging the gods because the social dynamics are horrible. As I said in my post about compartmentalization– when one of us suffers, we all suffer. And it’s near impossible to to practice a religion that doesn’t support you as a whole person. And when you make your religious space not only open to everyone who is respectful, but make it safe for everyone too, the gods benefit because there are more people giving them bounty. They benefit because more people will want to worship them. They benefit because the people benefit (which is a pretty common theme in ancient Egypt- the King is the head priest of Egypt, and his role is not only to care for the gods, but to care for the people of Egypt).

If I had to draw any lines in the sand, I would have to draw them in between myself and anything that doesn’t support our fellow humans. It wouldn’t be over offerings or shrines. It wouldn’t be over UPG or myths. It would be over people, and whether you are treating people well. The fact that so many pagans can’t seem to understand how important our people are shows that we certainly have a problem with our priorities; as well as a lack of understanding as to how religions actually survive beyond a single generation. People are the gods best asset, and to draw our lines over anything less seems silly to me.


Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Kemeticism, Rambles


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For years I couldn’t shake the feeling that once upon a time, a very very long time ago, I was a part of something that had fallen apart. I knew in my mind that things went south in a bad way, and I knew that I needed to find a way to fix it no matter what the cost. It took years for me to tease out some of the details of what might be pulling at my heart strings even from a young age. And even now, I am still trying to figure these pieces out so that I can put them in their proper places so that the group of people I am with can finally move forward and no longer be held in an eternal holding pattern.

The years before I figured out what exactly had gone so wrong, I always had this person in my mind that always gave me an overwhelming sense of loss. I couldn’t place who it was for many years, but once I did, it was like everything became hyper-focused. I was acutely aware of this person, and even more so, acutely aware of the pain and hole that they had left behind. This person was dead at the time that I learned of them, and I never expected to see them again. Each downfall has casualties. This was mine to bear.

I kept vigil for him for years. I didn’t really know what else to do, other than to keep the memory alive within me. I allowed the pain to fuel my actions, to push me to keep moving forward. It’s possible that you could say that the loss drove me to keep trying to fix what had gone awry. I had this person that I had loved that I needed to fix things for. Even if he wasn’t around to enjoy the end results, I was moved to right the wrongs that he (and others) had suffered all those years ago.

I spent so many years fixated on him that it really took me off guard when K-Pop showed up less than a month after I broke out and said we had been a “thing” several times over. I had spent all of this time keeping a light for this other person that I never even took a moment to consider if I had ever had other people in my previous lifetimes beyond him. It’s weird to say that, though, given that I had never really met the man that I was so attached to. In a way, I guess you could compare it to being consumed by a ghost or a memory, and I had been swallowed entirely.

As I began to move forward and explore the past so that I could figure out the future, I began to see wisps of him everywhere. There were times when he almost felt alive again. There were moments when it felt like we had found a tiny little bubble of the past, and we could sit in it for a while and pretend that things were okay still. But always, that bubble would disappear, and I would be left with the gaping hole that I was in before. I’ve said many times that death is not straight forward on the astral. Things rarely die permanently, and even when someone is confirmed dead, there are still ways that you can see them and reach out to them, albeit briefly. Much like dreaming of someone who is now gone from this world, you can find small pockets of reprieve from the reality of the situation. But much like that dream, once the reprieve is over, the pain is often so much greater for having cheated the system.

I tracked down every thread I could regarding this man. I hunted down pieces and stories and lies trying to find him. For a glimmer of a moment, it looked like I might have managed to reset enough pieces that they could converge to rebirth him. Both I and my partner were both nervously hopeful that maybe we had found a loophole that would allow us to fix this story once and for all.

And for a while we did. He was around and in my life, but you could tell that his smile was a thin veneer. You could tell that everyone in the house knew that the inevitable was coming. We all knew it, but never wanted to say it.

The truth of the matter is that you can’t always fix things. Sometimes you can fix them, but not for another 83856 years. The timing of things can not be overstated enough.

What’s worse is that the timing was right. It was right for bringing him back so that we could send him off again. There are many reasons for this, but I won’t go into them here. Just know that sometimes pain is the point. Sometimes you only need a spark to cause everything to set on fire. Sometimes short stints are the point, as is the pain that follows. And I can’t ever forget with him that the ends have always justified the means.

We struggled to keep him around, to battle whatever illness had befallen him. To this day I can’t ascertain if he was sick from the beginning, or if something happened somewhere along the way. He was never very upfront with me about what was going on behind that thin veneer he had, and for all I know, he showed up knowing that it would be very short-lived and he neglected to tell me for reasons. I worked as hard as I could to fix everything, to do right by the person I had waited for for so many years, but it was for naught. It was in late winter when he finally fell and light filled the sky. I thought that maybe it was over then, that I could put the wounds to rest, but I was wrong.

Entities can die several deaths in the Unseen that culminates in one final “real” death (or to use the “reset” metaphor above, you have numerous soft resets that culminate in a hard reset). In many ways, it’s like a series of false starts, except these are more like false endings. After I was told that our attempts were not working, and that we’d have to send him off, I was sad, but I understood why it needed to be done, and I accepted it for what it was. It hurt, but for some reason it was something that was painless enough that I could ignore it most of the time. However, I soon found myself being haunted by his memory. There were many times when I’d go Over There and find myself with parts of him. I had visions of the past, flickers of memories that careened across my vision. There were dreams and songs. Things that popped up on the internet. For someone who was supposedly dead, his memory antagonized me way more after his “death” than at any other point in time in my life.

There is a lot to be learned about death and loss in the Unseen. It’s not nearly as straightforward as human loss, and sometimes that is a blessing and sometimes that is a curse. In the Seen, when someone dies, that’s it. You can’t magic them back to life. You can’t go back in time to stop them from dieing. Once they are gone, they are gone. And the only thing you’ll ever have left is their memory and their stuff. This is good in that it allows for closure. You know what has happened, and there is no denying that. The person is gone and they are never going to come back.

The Unseen is less straightforward. You can lose someone, and then they come back later. It’s not uncommon for people to die and then return weeks or months later as though they never left. You can pull strings and work magix and bend time to change things. There is always this hope that people may return somehow, or that you’ll manage to find the one magic method to bring them back to you. This is good in that you can sometimes bring people back permanently- I have done this a few times with some success. But the downside to this is that you never really get closure. You are always looking over your shoulder and giving yourself a false sense of hope that somehow you’ll figure it out, even if the logical part of your brain knows you’re in denial about a situation.

Even though I knew that the writing was on the wall yet again, I still wondered if maybe I could find a way out of this. The memories plagued me for months, and I felt like I was always going to be haunted by this person. Who knows, maybe I wanted to be haunted, maybe he stuck around because I couldn’t let go. Maybe he couldn’t let go. Maybe we were both to blame. What’s worse is that I had another menz who was supposed to be helping me fix this situation, and he was not fairing well in the process. I began to worry that he’d be taken out, too.

But one evening I was sitting at home working, and suddenly the man that I had been honoring for all of these years showed up. But I knew that this time was different. He was completely aware and “with it” that night in a way that I hadn’t seen in months. I’ve heard stories of people who spend days or weeks in comas or slightly deluded states, only to wake up and be completely cognizant and aware right before they die. This was a moment like that.

He came to me and told me the inevitable. The thing that I knew had been coming from day one. The truth that has always been true between us. The fate that we have been working to unravel so that we no longer have to bear it. He came and told me what everyone in my house already knew to be fact.

The thing is, the fact that you know what is coming doesn’t make it hurt any less. There is a relief in knowing that the end has finally come (inasmuch as any real “ending” happens in the Unseen), but let me assure you that that doesn’t make the end any less difficult.

I’ve found that coping with death in the Unseen is very different from handling the death of a physical person. With a physical person, I always found that it was much easier to really recognize that someone or something is gone. You no longer see the person/animal/entity anymore. There is a very visible hole where that person used to be, and it’s so much plainer to you that someone is gone.

When an Unseen entity dies, it feels so much more abstract to me. There is this deadening, this emptiness, but you can’t really place where. Visually, nothing is different. Your house is as it always was. No one around you in the physical is mourning. No one recognizes that anything is amiss, and I personally always feel guilty for mourning someone from the Unseen in the physical. It’s one of those huge downsides to being close to anyone in the Unseen- if they die, no one knows. And if you tell people “I am sad because my non-physical friend died yesterday”, people will think you’re weird or possibly need to see a mental health professional. In many ways, I feel like mourning a non-physical entity is a lot like mourning a character from a story. That person may have had an impact on you, and so their death has left an impact on you. But the world doesn’t stop for it, and if you talk about it, people get uncomfortable really quickly.

In many ways it’s a lot less visceral and due to the lack of surrounding visible cues, you’ll probably feel kind of stupid for feeling sad. In many ways, it’s like this general malaise hangs over you, and you can’t place it’s origin and you can’t figure out how to fix it. You know something is missing and something isn’t right, but hell if you can pinpoint exactly where or what it is, let alone what to do with it.

Death is not beautiful. It’s messy and painful and generally leaves things in a state of disorder. Loss is painful, whether it’s on the physical plane or the non-physical plane. And it is equally messy as you try and figure out what to do with yourself now that there is a gaping hole in your existence. I have no beautiful succinct ending for this post. I have no final paragraph to sum up all of the learning points (hahaha what learning points). I have nothing to show except 2100 words about someone that none of you ever knew, and a mess on my metaphorical floor.

This is what it’s like when you look behind the curtain at TTR. This is what it’s like to live the dream.


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Devo’s Burninatin’ Celebration: 2015 Edition

With each passing year I have found that my Wep Ronpet festivities are less about the Epagomenal days, and are becoming more and more about Set and execrating things and calling it a holiday. Like last year, my Wep Ronpet started about a month early when I put out the public invitation to participate in my yearly execration. It’s only fair, I suppose, since Osiris gets a full month out of me in the winter, and now Set gets a month in the summer (though the work I do during each month is very very different). Each year my execration rites and methods are dictated by Set who often uses this as a means to further my understanding of things such as himself, myself, our relationship together, etc.

For those who were around for last year’s execration, you’ll know that he involved my sewing habit, and sought to incorporate the overlap that exists between sewing, heka, and Kemeticism. This year’s theme could easily be summed up as “a pot of unrest.” For those who don’t know where the phrase stems from, it comes from a spell that you can find inside of Borghouts’ text where Set has been injured, and Horus seeks to find out his real name in order to heal him. Amongst the many names that he hands out, he calls himself a “Quiver full of arrows, a pot full of unrest” (you can see more on Henadology about this, too).

I discovered this story shortly before my execration invitation went out, and it’s colored a lot of my practice ever since. Possibly due to my mounting frustrations with my family and their constant picking at my anger, or maybe due to being a second-class citizen in my country, I found myself relating to the idea of being a “pot of unrest”. So when Set told me that we were going to use that as part of our execration this year, I was a bit excited to see how this would pan out.

execration_pot of unrest

My pot of unrest sitting in front of the shrine.

“We are preparing a pig for slaughter,” he told me as I placed the first set of petition papers into my pot of unrest. This year, I augmented how I wrote out the execration petitions. Instead of simply writing out what needed to be destroyed, I would write a statement of what would be slaughtered, and then followed that up with a statement of what the end goal would look like once the execration was done. For example: I destroy my anxiety and worrisome thoughts. My mind is calm and at ease. I am in control of my thoughts.

After I wrote the petitions on the pieces of paper, I set them into my pot and left them to stew for the rest of the month. The pot was just a pot in it’s own right, but once you filled it with the grit and grime that everyone wanted to eradicate, it became filled with unrest. Unrest that was dieing to get out.

In many cultures, when you’re preparing an animal for a sacred feast or holy day, you take very good care of the animal. It is given a special meal and special treatment. Sometimes they will adorn the animal with pretty flowers, fancy cloth, or other nice things. In this case, my pot of unrest contained the “meat” of what we would be killing and roasting during this execration. In the same fashion that you might give your sacrificial animal a large last meal or maybe drape pretty flowers on them, I decided to decorate and “pretty up” all of these awful things that we would be destroying on Wep Ronpet. I also wanted to make this pig fat, so I placed the pot of unrest in front of the shrine and placed all of my offerings before not only the gods, but the pot of unrest as well.


Last year, Set had talked to me about taking care with my a/pep effigy. He told me that sometimes we must destroy what we love and that just because something is destined to be destroyed doesn’t mean that we should cut corners, and that mentality went a little deeper this year. Instead of taking care to sew an effigy on the last night before our execration, I would spend an entire month cultivating this pot of unrest and everything inside of it. It is true that the items written on the slips of paper are things that we all want to get rid of, but it is important to remember that these habits and traits are hard to get rid of for a reason. It is very often that our bad habits end up being very dear to us in their own ways. We can’t cope with things, and so we indulge in stuff that we probably shouldn’t. We fear for the unknown, so we cling to whatever is familiar to us, no matter how detrimental that behaviour may be. Our relationship to our darker sides and habits is often very complex, and I believe Set was trying to emulate this throughout the pre-execration process.

Sometimes the things that threaten our well being the most end up being the most comforting to us. He implied in some ways, that these things still need to be given a fair amount of love in order to be released more readily. But because the people who are falling victim to these bad habits probably can’t afford such a thing (it’s hard to love parts of you that you hate, to love things that you do that unravel your life), that is the role that I would be filling. This is familiar to me in terms of healing, because you often have to become ambivalent or relatively removed from a person during a healing process. It’s hard to get someone to heal if you’re too busy judging them, or making them judge themself. And as I’ve mentioned in the past, if you can’t come to accept yourself or what you’ve done, healing, letting go and moving on can become near impossible. For the first time, I was beginning to see how O’s work and Set’s work were going to overlap in a more practical sense.

We will feed these bad habits for a month. We will feed this pig until it can’t hold anymore. And then we will pierce the pig with our arrows, and feast upon its flesh. That was the aim.


On the day of the execration, I pulled out each paper one by one and drew an arrow through each line of text. This effectively turned each petition into a quiver of arrows. Some of these arrows were going to pierce the problem, the pig, and destroy whatever each person wanted destroyed. But that would leave one other final arrow that was drawn through the positive statement at the end: this arrow was going to work for each person who had submitted a petition, and help to guide that person to a better place.

I wasn’t entirely aware of this caveat when I started, it was something that Set sorta sprung on me at the last minute while I was drawing these arrows onto each sheet of paper. Like normal, I met with him Over There while I did the ritual over here, and as I began to draw arrows on the papers, I found arrows appearing in my hands over there. By the time the execration was finished, these arrows had flown off to their respective owners, and were going to help push that person into a better place. I was reminded a bit of O’s impaling magix, which is supposed to help force change in a given situation while also being reminded of various NTRW’s Arrows, which are supposed to go do the bidding of the particular god in question.

Had I sent out his Arrows to help people? Had I sent out my own Arrows to help people? I’m not sure. But arrows were sent out all the same.


Afterwards, I was told to make a post for everyone who had submitted a petition to see. He said that everyone needed to focus on where they wanted to go, everyone needed to keep their eye on the prize, so that the arrow would go in the right direction. He gave me an image of heka, arrow and a shen, which I took to mean that your heka drives your arrow, and the shen offers protection so that you are able to get where you want to be safely.


Last year’s execration felt an awful lot like “destroy all of the things!” The music that was used was from Save Rock and Roll, which is filled with a lot of angry ass-kicking songs. Where as this year’s theme was Uma Thurman, a song that featured more about making miraculous things happen (and summer sex). This year’s execration felt less like directing anger, and more about bigger picture stuff- don’t just destroy the bad things, also work on the aftermath and bringing in the good stuff, too. As I had stated above, it was a lot like I incorporated both Set and Osiris, and had managed to bring in not only destruction but long-term healing as well.

I guess now we must wait and see if the proof is in the pudding, and if people experience some change in the coming months.

Other Wep Ronpet 2015 Posts:

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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Kemeticism


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